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In Oakland, transitional kindergarten is still a go

TRANSITIONAL KINDERGARTEN
photo of transitional kindergarten pilot at Greenleaf Elementary by Laura A. Oda/Staff

It’s been a confusing few months for families with children who are turning 5 in November — kids who, until this year, would have been eligible to start kindergarten.

First, they hear that their local district will be required to offer a two-year kindergarten program for their child this fall (and, eventually, children who turn 5 between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2). Then, they learn the governor wants to overturn the law instituting transitional kindergarten, and that districts — such as San Francisco Unified — are worried they might not have the funding for it.

Now, legislative analysts say that districts will have the per-student funding needed to pay for transitional kindergarten, even if Gov. Jerry Brown succeeds in repealing the mandate. And if the mandate stands, of course, districts will have to provide it.

Jeff Bell, who directs management consultant services for School Services of California, told me this: Whether current law stands or Brown’s proposal overturns it, “It looks like there will be resources in some fashion to have transitional kindergarten.”

Oakland Unified is going forward with transitional kindergarten , launching the new grade at 10 schools in the fall. Yvonne Delbanco, who is coordinating the Oakland school district’s new program, said her message to families and preschool providers has been simple: “We are moving forward exactly as planned.”

Have you signed up for transitional kindergarten? How has your district handled the uncertainty? We expect to have a full story about this next week.

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CA budget proposal: More funding for schools

Gov. Jerry BrownBecause of rising tax revenues, California’s public schools (k-12) would get $3 billion more than expected in 2011-12 under Gov. Jerry Brown’s May budget revision.

At a news conference this morning, Brown said the amount of money guaranteed to public schools under Proposition 98 — a Constitutional amendment that voters approved in 1988 — increased by $3 billion since January. He said his plan would honor that guarantee (rather than ask the Legislature to suspend it), and that it called for the state to start repaying $8.2 billion in debt to schools.

Another change from Brown’s January proposal relates to delayed payments to school districts — money owed one year, but not paid until the following year. Continue Reading

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Brown’s proposal to spare K-12 from cuts

Gov. Jerry BrownThe governor releases his 2011-12 budget proposal today. This is what his office sent out this morning. (If you want to watch the news conference live, info’s at the end of the news release):

Governor Brown’s Budget Slashes State Spending by $12.5 Billion

Sacramento – Governor Jerry Brown will release a balanced state budget today that slashes spending by $12.5 billion, including an eight to 10 percent cut in take-home pay for most state employees, and proposes a “vast and historic” restructuring of government operations.

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